Hunger Is Real: The Voices of WNC

Hunger Is Real: The Voices of WNC is a short documentary film directed by Adams J. Wood and produced by MANNA FoodBank to give a real look at the state of hunger in Western North Carolina. The film features four food relief organizations who are part of the MANNA Partner Network, a 200+ strong network of nonprofits, schools, churches, and other community-focused groups who are providing food to people in their community across the 16 western-most counties of North Carolina.

In WNC, the pressure of a socioeconomic perfect storm continues to batter families on all sides: the highest cost of housing in the state, paired with below-state-average wages and surging costs of living is forcing more people than ever into impossible situations. Record numbers of working families are turning to these food relief partners to simply have food on the table for their family.

Prior to the pandemic, MANNA and this network of partners were serving an estimated monthly average of 67,000 – 70,000 people. But the economic impacts of the pandemic had an immediate and staggering effect, and these numbers have exploded to more than 125,000 people a month currently turning to food relief agencies (as of March 2023).

Currently, 1 in 5 people – including 1 in 3 children – face the reality of hunger in WNC.


How You Can Help

In the face of these sometimes insurmountable challenges, are the people of WNC, standing together, unflappably resilient, and holding compassion for one another. Thousands of people across WNC work tirelessly every day to ensure that anyone who needs food can reach out and find it. Volunteers across the region are dedicating their time to offering a helping hand in someone’s moment of need; food pantry leaders and staff are constantly strategizing, doing whatever it takes to get the food their community needs onto families’ tables. Individual and organizational funders and food donors are investing in this work, helping ensure that the gaps are filled and needs are met – and that this life-saving daily work continues.

You can be part of this movement across WNC, and begin making an immediate impact for our neighbors struggling with these challenges.


Donating money to MANNA’s work is the easiest way to get involved and to make a difference with our daily food distribution efforts. For every $1 donated, MANNA helps provide the equivalent of 4 meals to families currently experiencing food insecurity.


Volunteers are the heart and soul of the work to make meals happen for thousands of families every day across the mountains. Join these daily efforts by exploring the volunteer opportunities MANNA has to offer – or find a MANNA partner in your neighborhood and donate your time close to home.


Join the voices of people across the region and help shape the future of what food security can look like by signing up for MANNA’s advocacy emails, monthly enewsletter, and joining us on social media networks. Help us amplify the good work being done by our partners, volunteers, and donors, and become an advocate for those facing food insecurity by sharing this work with your coworkers, friends, family, and other communities.